OK, here's a question, and maybe the answer is so stupidly obvious that it's eluding me:
You know when you're watching a Civil War movie, and the Confederate Army is marching up the hill to do battle with the Union soldiers? And the troops at the top of the hill load up the cannons, and wait, and wait .. until finally the order comes: "Fire!" and **BOOM!** go the cannons.
Now cut to the soldiers marching up the hill. Incoming cannon rounds land all around them with huge booms and explosions and men are tossed head over heel and wagons explode into flame and flip over and horses get thrown on their sides by the force of the blasts ...
So here's my question: I'm pretty sure that back then, munitions hadn't developed to the point where shells - cannon or otherwise - exploded. You had cannonballs ... and you had what was called "grape" - which is what it sounds like, a whole bunch of grape-sized pieces of lead fired all at once from the cannon.
So ... what's causing all the explosions? When a cannonball (which is just a huge chunk of lead) lands beside you, does it go BOOM and throw you from your horse? Or does it go .. you know ... *THUD* ? Which might make your horse a tad skittish, but not enough to do a flip about.
I know Hollywood likes to dress things up a bit, but with all the great movies about the Civil War, wouldn't one of them - just one - have a battle scene with realistic effects? I mean, men were dying in those battles at the rate of tens of thousands per hour - it's not like it has to be jazzed up to make it more dramatic. At least, I wouldn't think so.
Am I wrong? Were there exploding cannonballs? Or is this just another of Hollywood's longest-running shell games?